Beauty is in your soul! - Miss Teen St Thomas has big plans
MORANT BAY, St Thomas:
Beauty is often defined by society based on the size of your waist, the colour of your skin, and sometimes, the texture of your hair. The definition resonates with many, causing some to think of themselves as being less than beautiful, but it was not so for Leonnise Johnson, winner of the Miss Teen St Thomas Cultural Pageant 2015.
When asked about any insecurity that she might have had while taking part in the annual pageant, Johnson quickly dismissed the notion.
"Absolutely none! Before the competition, people would bash me saying, I was 'too fat or not pretty like the other girls', but that's their opinion of me. I am beautiful, unique and specially designed by God. I am proud of my skin, dark and full of melanin. I am proud of my culture and my beauty within. Jodian Campbell and Kadian Burton were my motivators, and they told me I was beautiful, no matter what others think of me, and I used that to stitch my way through the competition. Furthermore, the competition was about being cultured, bold and talented," she said.
The reigning Teen Queen brought Rural Xpress back to that Saturday evening in December 2015 when she heard her name announced as winner of the pageant.
"I was beyond overwhelmed and extremely happy because my small yet loud crowd made me feel like the queen I am. They motivated and encouraged me throughout every aspect of the competition. I was humbled and honoured to have been selected Miss Teen, and the smile on my face said it all. Despite not having a large crowd, I had a goal. I was on a mission to achieve greatness, and indeed, that I did," she said.
And as for her reason for even entering the competition goes: "Retrospectively, I have always dreamed of becoming Miss Teen St Thomas, and being guided by the philosophy, "If you want good, yuh nose affi run," I believe hard work and dedication would have made me victorious. I am a bold person, blessed with a variety of talents, and I always strive to be educated regarding my culture and current affairs. Having all those attributes, I firmly seized the opportunity and entered without an inch of doubt."
Johnson told Rural Xpress that she has so far been volunteering at the Lyssons Kindergarten School and has participated in various beach clean-up activities.
The 18-year-old has big plans for her parish and is looking forward to entering the upcoming Festival Queen competition to give her a platform to fulfil them.
"I have a project that I want to undertake shortly to help the homeless and give back to my community by being a youth mentor and representing wherever duty calls. Along with that, I want to help disabled individuals who have low self-esteem and are in need of special care.
Despite being situated in 'the forgotten parish,' I have always held my head high because we are the hidden gem of Jamaica with untapped potential that has always been overlooked. Seeing that social media has taken over our society, I will publish a Facebook page in particular to showcase what our parish has to offer and the culture we have. This will foster investors to uplift our parish and also attract tourists to view the great and natural ambiances we have," Johnson shared.
The confident past student of Morant Bay High School encourages those who may want to enter pageants or pursue certain goals that 'it's all about personality'.
"Your true beauty is reflected in your soul. Don't allow anybody to devalue your character, your self-esteem, and most importantly, your goals.
Work hard for what you want and believe you can do it. Seize every opportunity and let God be your source of comfort and motivator.
Think and live positively, and most importantly, love yourself!"